Multiple insiders reporting that the Leafs are about to blow it all up

Ryan Smitheram
April 29, 2024  (12:29)

Mitch Marner
Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and TSN's Darren Dreger believe that there will be significant changes to the "Core 4" this off-season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs are facing a very big uphill battle as they head into Game 5 on Tuesday night in Boston, down 3-1 to the Bruins in their first-round series. With that being said, the status surrounding the health of Auston Matthews is unknown as he was pulled form the third period of Saturday's game by doctors due to the illness he has been battling throughout the series.
With or without Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares will have to do something they have yet to do in the series: Control and dominate a game from start to finish. Otherwise, it will be another very disappointing post-season performance from Toronto's "Core 4". It is also likely the last post-season together for the quartet as both TSN's Darren Dreger and Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman alluded to on Monday.
Dreger: "Somebody's going to have to pay the price when the Maple Leafs lose to the Boston Bruins in round 1. Yes, that's obvious. But who is it? We talk about the 'Core 4'...It's not a 'Core 4', it's a 'Core 2' because Matthews and Nylander have extensions and Marner and Tavares do not.

Something is going to change in that core this off-season. you can take that to the bank. So what's the change before that happens? Everybody keeps looking at the new sheriff in town [Keith Pelley] being the head of MLSE and expecting that he is going to be so upset that he is going to take a machete to hockey operations. That means Brendan Shanahan goes. Brad Treliving, is he going anywhere? I don't see it. Sheldon Keefe as head coach - I can understand [if he's let go] and I can guarantee you that Keefe would expect that. He's had multiple chances and it hasn't worked out."

Friedman echoed Dreger's thoughts on his latest '32 Thoughts' podcast this morning noting that it took some players like Steve Yzerman and Alexander Ovechkin years to win, but that time has run out for the talent on this Leafs group.
Friedman: "You always bet on talent and assume they're going to figure it out. I don't think you can do that here anymore.

Number one, Marner's contract, he's got 1 more year. That's going to force you into a decision. Tavares' contract has 1 more year. It's going to force you into a decision and you can only give so many votes of confidence to the same group and they did one last summer. So this is their last chance to prove that they should stay together, and Monday morning, it is hanging by a thread. There's no question we're on the precipice of an end of an era in Toronto that a lot of people that are surprised it didn't have more success than it should've."

For Leaf fans, it is something they have been asking for for a number of years already and it sounds like it is finally going to happen. Unfortunately, it is going to be a very difficult task as Marner and Tavares both have full no-movement clauses in the final year of their contracts.
29 AVRIL   |   870 ANSWERS
Multiple insiders reporting that the Leafs are about to blow it all up

Of the Core 4 in Toronto, who would you be most likely to trade?

Marner56965.4 %
Nylander657.5 %
Tavares21524.7 %
Matthews212.4 %
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